Nyirinkwaya in no hurry to go professional

The 2013 RDB-Rwanda Golf Open winner Aphrodis Nyirinkwaya is not (yet) ready to turn professional, instead he wants to use the next ‘two-three’ years mastering his game.
Twenty-two year old Aphrodis Nyirinkwaya started playing competitive golf four years ago but he is now the Rwanda Open champion.  The New Times / T. Kisambira.
Twenty-two year old Aphrodis Nyirinkwaya started playing competitive golf four years ago but he is now the Rwanda Open champion. The New Times / T. Kisambira.

Group I (Gross)

Aphrodis Nyirinkwaya      300
Willy Kitata                  300 (Uga)
Celestin Habineza     301
*Nyirinkwaya beats Kitata 3-4
in playoff

Net
Jules Mutesa         289
Emmanuel Habineza     295
Professionals
Emmanuel Ruterana     280
JB Hakizimana        284
Ernest Ndayisenga     291

 

Group II (Gross)
Bernabas Kariuki     153

 

Net
Dr. Richard Gakuba     151
Sam               125 (Uga)
Arthur Barigye         153

 

Group III (Net)
Taylor Koonce         133
Auk Lootsmna         146
Eugene Murenjekha     152
Ladies (Gross)
Alphonsine Murekatete     174

Net
Esther Mukagasana     151
Jenny Lynda         154
Seniors (Gross)
Andrew Nkwandi     185

Net
Charles Kagombe     164
Gedion Kayinamura     184

The 2013 RDB-Rwanda Golf Open winner Aphrodis Nyirinkwaya is not (yet) ready to turn professional, instead he wants to use the next ‘two-three’ years mastering his game.

The 22-year- old beat Uganda’s Willy Kitata 3-4 in the sudden death playoff on Saturday at the Kigali Golf Club in Nyarutarama.

Trailing Kitata by two shots going onto the 18th hole on day four, the pint-sized Rwandan youngster scored a boggy-free round of two-over-par 74 to finish the day level with the more experienced Ugandan.

“Words can’t explain how happy I am to win the Rwanda Open. This is the biggest tournament in the country and to come from behind to win it against a very strong field makes it even so special,” the baby-faced former caddie told Times Sport.

It is the first major title for Nyirinkwaya, who started playing competitive golf just four years ago, and he thinks, it’s just the first of many to come in the future.

“My first (Rwanda Open last year) didn’t go well but this year, everything seemed to go for me, especially on the last day and I am extremely happy,” he said.

Enroute to his maiden Rwanda Open title, Nyirinkwaya, scored 5&4, while Kitata had 4&6 on the 17th and 18th holes, which forced the winner to be decided on a sudden death playoff between the pair, which the Rwandan won by one shot. Asked about the prospect of turning pro, the new champion said, “Not now, I don’t think am ready for that at the moment, I need about two or three years to master my game before.”

A genuinely disappointed Kitata could not believe how he let slip a two-shot lead on the final hole in a tournament he started as the overwhelming favorite and ‘knew’ he would win from day one.

“One thing  must confess is that I know how to play but not how to win. That is why I have lost today, but credit to the guy (Nyirinkwaya) as he was very lucky today, he chipped and putted just once and I did it (putt) four times,” Kitata said.

“In sports, there are good and bad days, and today was very bad one for me and good for him (the winner). I am a big player and I have played in different countries, so I was confident from day one that I would win this tournament but it wasn’t my day,” the highly rated Ugandan international explained.

Unique

The organisers believe this year’s Rwanda Open has been quite unique from the previous editions thanks to the fact that it had different leaders on each of the four days and a winner, who didn’t test the lead other than winning.

Day one ended with Kitata and Celestin Habineza sharing the lead, the latter took the outright lead on day two, then he was overtaken by both Kitata and the defending champion Jules Mutesa on day three.

All this time, Nyirinkwaya was lagging just behind the front trio, until the final hole on day four when he produced his wizardly to force a playoff with Kitata.

Kitata returned scores of 74, 74, 76 and 75, while Nyirinkwaya had 75, 78, 73 and 74 on day one, two, three and four respectively.

The four-day tournament, which was sponsored by Rwanda Development Bank, Aqua Sipi drinking water, Computer Point, Bralirwa, Sulfo Industries, Tele10, Bourbon Coffee and Source Oil, attracted over 100 golfers from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.

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